Failing fast, AI and the future of work are just a few of the big ideas from WEF 18 in Davos.

At Davos last week, Accenture participated in several thought-provoking panel discussions. There was certainly exploration of technology like AI and blockchain—but in equal measure, participants discussed the very human concerns of how reskilling, inclusion, trust and leadership are critical to capturing the value created by technology. Here are some of the big themes that emerged.

Failing fast—the right way

Accenture’s Chief Strategy Officer, Omar Abbosh, sat on several panels to discuss how organizations can counter disruption by investing in technology and innovation. Many times we heard how failing must become part of the paradigm—failing fast and learning from it, or as Abbosh put it, “failing the right way” to gain new business or operating models as a result.

Human + machine = superpowers

Accenture Chief Technology & Innovation Officer Paul Daugherty participated in a number of panels, one of which focused on AI and leadership. On the topic of how AI will change the future workforce, Daugherty said that “humans plus machines equals superpowers.”  In that same session, Cathy Bessant, COO of Bank of America, added that “This isn’t about what we let AI do to the workforce; it’s how we control its use for the good of the workforce.”

Investment in AI outpaces reskilling budgets

At Davos, Accenture Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer Ellyn Shook said worldwide spending on cognitive and AI systems increased by 60 percent between 2016 and 2017, but only 3 percent of CEOs plan to significantly increase investment in training programs over the next three years.

Shook offered an optimistic look at the future workforce, highlighting that people—who are not just workers but also consumers—see the opportunities offered by technology. Notably, 62 percent of workers believe that AI will positively impact their work, and 67 percent say it’s important to develop their skills to work with intelligent machines.

Worldwide spending on AI increased by 60 percent last year, but only 3 percent of CEOs plan to invest significantly in reskilling.

Reworking the revolution

Davos also saw the launch of Accenture’s report on how the combination of intelligent technology and human ingenuity is unlocking the future of work. In addition to the findings shared above, here are some of the highlights:

  • Greater investment in human-machine collaboration could boost revenues by 38 percent by 2022, and boost employment by 10 percent. For the average S&P500 company, that could mean $7.5 billion and 5,000 jobs.
  • 54 percent of executives say human-machine collaboration is important to their strategic goals.
  • 46 percent of executives say job descriptions are obsolete.
  • 63 percent of business leaders expect a net gain in jobs from using AI in the next three years.

For the detailed research report, download Reworking the Revolution. If you’d like to discuss how Accenture can help insurers prepare its people for the intelligent enterprise, please get in touch.

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